June 16th, 2011
04:11 PM ET
12 years ago

Romney tells actual unemployed people he is also unemployed

(CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has more in common with the average voter than it may seem, or so he said during a campaign stop in Tampa, Florida Thursday.

After listening to a group of unemployed Floridians discuss the challenges they face in the job market, the presidential hopeful -and multi-millionaire– cheekily divulged, "I am also unemployed."

Romney's remarks were greeted with laughter from the crowd, and prompted one man to ask the former governor and businessman if he is on the online networking site 'LinkedIn.'

"Yes actually and I'm networking," Romney answered. "I have my sights on a particular job that I'm working for."

But not everyone appreciated Romney's humor.

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the remarks "inappropriate and insensitive to the millions of Americans looking for work," in a statement.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley also issued a statement calling Romney's comments "completely unacceptable."

"I am not sure that I can think of anything more out of touch with Granite Staters than 'chuckling' at unemployment as Mitt Romney did today in Florida," Buckley said.

At a later campaign stop in Smyrna, Georgia, however, Romney insisted his humor was aimed only at himself.

"I'll always make light of myself, and self deprecating humor is part of who I am," Romney told reporters.

"I had the privilege of being with a lot of unemployed people today and talking about their concerns. That's why I was there. So I'm in touch. Our president simply doesn't understand that his policies are causing a level of unemployment that is really unparalleled in modern history," he added.

The Republican National Party will nominate their presidential candidate in Tampa next summer.

–CNN's Aaron Cooper and CNN All Platform Journalist John Couwels contributed to this report

Updated 5:28 p.m.

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Duh, let the unemployed eat cake.

    June 16, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. charlie seemann

    And let's make sure he stays unemployed.

    June 16, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Weezie in Ohio

    If he win's the nomination, he be the star of that commercial.

    June 16, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. MarshallM

    This is outrageous. How DARE he make a joke out of being unemployed. He has no concept whatsoever of the struggles of ordinary Americans who can't find a job, put food on the table, stay in their homes or be productive citizens of this country. This insensitivity of the plight of the majority of Americans will not only doom his chances of ever being POTUS, it points to the larger issue of his Republican Party not having any connection with average citizens. Buh bye, Mitt!!!!

    June 16, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    Did he mention how many people he made "Unemployed" as a corporate hatchet man ?

    June 16, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Denise

    I'm all for a little humor, but that really shows an appalling lack of good judgment. Even those of us that are "doing good" are but a paycheck or two away from being in big trouble. What an insensitive thing to joke about.

    June 16, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    An unemployed millionaire is not "unemployed." He's temporarily stopped stealing is all.

    June 16, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. C. Howe Yulikit

    Teehee! You so funny, Mittty! I'm sure your audience retires to one of their ski chalets to rue their unemployed status.

    June 16, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. Stacey

    Mitt Flip Flop Romney is very, very rich. His being unemployed is not the same as my being unemployed and dead broke. Romney is pathetic.

    June 16, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    Only because he is a "professional politician".

    Of course, it is easier, when you are a millionaire.

    June 16, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Name king

    Someone should have asked Romney, if he was still in the business of shedding employees for big companies hiring robots, foreigners, computer systems and shipping American jobs over seas, and how much billions did he made doing that.

    June 16, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. The Prince of Common Cents

    If Romney is currently "unemployed" because he is currently not in the job position of POTUS right now, then the GOP hopeful is as "elitist" and "out of touch" with middle class Americans as I thought he is....

    June 16, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. dragon8me

    What a looser. This guy is a multi-millionare and he trys to act like he's the same as an unemployed American? Fail!

    June 16, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Pravaa

    " I will be back in 4 years in a big plane with my own secret service" " I cant wait to debate the president" " I am unemployed"

    This guy's arrogance is just beginning to show up. And does any body believe the BS about his having lived in his sons house's basement? You have 500 million$ in the bank and you live in a basement?

    June 16, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Sam

    I like Mitt, however that comment was a bit off. Many of us who did not come from wealthy backgrounds, who worked to get our college degrees in difficult subjects such as engineering, are now saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt and are burdened with unemployment and underemployment. Not cool Mitt.

    June 16, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Mitt Romney - He'll Say Anything To Get Elected

    Can we say it together??? – O-U-T of T_O_U_C_H?

    I wish I could joke about not having a job which I attribute to an economic climate 30 years in the making by GOP'ers "trickle down" economics.

    As the son of a former auto industry executive and with his FATHER as the former Governor of Michigan, Mitt Romney was born on 3rd base. Unfortunately, if you listen to him, he would SWEAR to you that he hit a TRIPLE to get there.

    June 16, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. robbie Nelson

    But you are rich you fool

    June 16, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. jayrock37

    Unemployed with a Rolls Royce

    June 16, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Butler

    Mr. Romney's comment says it all, i.e.,republican compassion and understanding for the masses. I just can't understand how anyone with any common sense can support politicians with such distain for us commoners.

    June 16, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. SB

    I wonder if Romney would still think he was being funny if we took away his millions leaving him with $1000 in his checking account, no savings, and two nearly maxed out credit cards, with a car loan, utilities and rent due in two weeks, all the while getting only $200 a week form the state in unemployment benefits in an economy in which only burger flippers, dish washers and pizza delivery drivers are in demand. Yeah I bet funny man wouldn't be laughing then.

    June 16, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. D-Nice

    Mitt has no clue what it's like to have to struggle to get by. You really think he is going to care when he becomes president? It's kinda like Bush thinking it was great when a woman told him that she was working 3 jobs. Like working 3 crappy jobs is desirable. The middle class is doomed if Romney gets elected. The only welfare he supports is corporate welfare..

    June 16, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. Thank God I am a Democrat

    I am not unemployeed. if I was though I want to be Mitt Romneys kind of unemployeed. I am pretty sure he is doing much better on his unemployment as opposed to the people he said that to. What a joke.

    June 16, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Lorna

    OMG...this is the GOP frontrunner?! What a completely asinine thing to say.....I don't know what else to say.....

    June 16, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. AZ DEM

    LOL Romney...cmon man we ALL know you have millions sitting in your bank account..are you drawing unemployment like these Floridians are? Actually they might fall into the category of people who have had their benefits cut off by members of your party. If he thinks he is going to pretend he is a "regular" guy to win the nomination and eventually the presidency than I welcome him to try that strategy all the way till Nov 2012 and watch as Barack Hussein Obama wipes the floor with him.

    Obama 2012

    June 16, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. larry

    Not funny not cute more like a slap in the face, but you watch how it will be played off as nothing, because its a republican. And yet americans keep electing them to office.

    June 16, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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